Women’s basketball prepares for the ODAC tournament one game, one day at a time

Seeding for the ODAC women’s basketball tournament is up in the air at this point in the season. The Generals plan to tackle the rest of their schedule with the same mentality they have had all year.

Sydney Lee

With five wins in the past seven games and an 11-6 record as of Jan. 16th, the Washington and Lee women’s basketball team is in the midst of a successful season.

“We’ve had a very tough non-conference and travel schedule,” said coach Christine Clancy. “I am incredibly proud of our performance to this point.”

With two hard-fought ODAC wins against fierce competitors Randolph College, Virginia Wesleyan University, and, as of Jan. 16, Bridgewater College, Clancy and the team certainly have a lot to be proud of. Maintaining a 7-3 record in the conference, the Generals have brought a dynamic level of play to the court. Last year, the team had a 5-4 ODAC record at this point in the season. 

After playing Randolph in a mid-week game, the Generals “came back with a new energy for Virginia Wesleyan,” according to freshman guard Erin Addison, ‘22. Sophomore guard Erin Hughes, ‘21, had a career-high performance. Hughes put up 28 points against the Marlins, doing most of her work at the free-throw line, where she made 13 out of 15 attempts. 

Another notable performance came from junior captain Andy Smithey, ‘20, in the Generals’ game against Virginia Wesleyan. Smithey had 18 points in the game as well as a career-high 11 rebounds. Junior guard Taylor Casey, ‘20, contributed to the team’s efforts in that game with 20 points. 

The recent success is rooted in the positive attitude and consistent support displayed among all of the players. 

“This team’s dynamic is definitely different than previous years,” said Taylor Casey, ‘20. “We all genuinely love to play basketball, love to have fun with each other, and don’t take ourselves too seriously, which makes it really easy to show up and give it 100% every day.” 

Erin Addison, who said the team has greatly helped in her adjustment to both college basketball and academics, shared Casey’s perspective on the tight bond the team has. 

“We practice six times a week and lift two times a week together,” she said. “But we also choose to hang out with one another all the time. We’re very supportive and we know how to have a good time as a unit.” 

According to both Addison and Casey, “there’s so much trust among all of us.”

The Generals hope that this trust and support will continue to translate onto the court as they prepare for the ODAC tournament. Even though ODACs are fast approaching, the team maintains a “one game at a time” mentality. 

“Our focus this season has been 1 day and 1 game at a time, and we are going to continue to have that mentality through the rest of the season,” Clancy said. 

 “We don’t look far ahead,” Addison said. “We will stick to our game plan for that game. That’s a big reason why we play so well.”

The Generals have one senior this year, captain Andi Carrandi, ‘19, and five freshmen. The team’s roster only has 10 players, so freshmen make up half the team. 

“Even though we’re young, we all stick to the game plan,” Addison said. 

That game plan was executed in an important ODAC win at home against Bridgewater on Jan. 16. The Generals, led by Taylor Casey ‘20 and Andy Smithey ‘20, came out on top with a close 85-82 win over the Eagles. Smithey recorded another career-high performance that game. 

Sticking to the game plan will be imperative as the Generals prepare to face difficult competitors in the ODAC tournament this year. 

“Everything is pretty wide open and up for grabs at this point, so we have a shot at making a run for a high seed going into the tournament if we keep playing well,” Casey said. 

Last year, the Generals were the fifth seed headed into the tournament. They defeated Hollins University in the first round and fourth seed Guilford in the quarterfinals. They ended up losing to Emory & Henry College in the semifinals at the Salem Civic Center. 

According to Coach Clancy, the ODACs have never been as much in the air as they are this season. 

“Any of the 10 teams that make it to the conference tournament will have a chance to win the title,” she said. “I’ve never seen this much parity in the league.”

Casey said the Generals just need to continue on like they have all season, hitting their peak at just the right time. 

“We will look to keep doing what we’ve been doing, working hard every day and gaining confidence going into the end of the season,” she said. “I feel really good about our chances at making a run in the post season.” 

The Generals will face Ferrum College on Jan. 19 with hopes of another road win.